The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Mutula Faces Censure Over Sh350 Million Tax Bill

MPs allied to Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto are planning to introduce a motion of censure against Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo.

They have been mobilizing support in Parliament and could introduce the motion as early as last week.

They are angry that Mutula has insisted that the constitution does not allow Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto to vie for the presidency because they have been charged with crimes against humanity by the ICC. They will challenge Mutula's integrity on the grounds of a large outstanding tax bill.

Kenya Revenue Authority in March 2010 slapped him with a tax bill of Sh352 million for non-payment of Value Added Tax and income tax. KRA Deputy Commissioner R. Omulindi wrote to the Kenya National Assembly clerk Patrick Gichohi demands that Parliament deducts the money from Mutula's salary and remit it to the KRA. The VAT demand letter on March 11 was Sh43,218,381 and the Income Tax letter on March 15 was for Sh308,978,517.

Yesterday, Gichohi could not confirm or deny having received the two letters addressed to him."I do not discuss MPs personal matters in the media," stated Gichohi.

Mutula's salary as an MP and minister has since then been paid in full to the KRA. At that rate, it might take 15 years to clear the debt. The outspoken minister's tax problems apparently started after the Narc government came to power. "He was the lawyer for Moi and Kanu, and he handled a lot of NSSF transactions," said an associate of Mutula.

"When he defended Kanu against the KICC takeover in 2004, he upset a lot of people. His vocal criticism of the Narc government did not help," said the associate.

"They went into his company books and started computing back tax and interest on anything that the government had paid him. Eventually he reached an agreement with the KRA," said the associate.

He said he did not think it was a coincidence that the issue of back tax had been resurrected after Mutula's aggressive stand on the ICC "It's obviously an attempt to embarrass him and force him to resign," the associate said.

"In the exercise of powers conferred to me by section 19 of the Value Added Tax Act, I hereby declare you to be the agent of the above taxpayer registered taxpayer and require you to pay me the sum of sh 43,218,381 being tax due by the said taxpayer," stated the first letter dated March 11, 2010.

" In the exercise of the powers conferred upon me by section 96 of Income Tax Act, I hereby declare you to be the agent of the above person and require you to pay me sh 308,978,517 being tax due by the said person," said the second letter dated March 15, 2010.

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